Édouard Lock | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Édouard Lock

With Human Sex (1985), Lock's harsh, urban, performance-art-oriented style emphasizing maximum risk, high energy and gestural detail began to jell. Human Sex won a Bessie Award for choreography in 1986.

Édouard Lock

 Édouard Lock, choreographer, performer (b at Casablanca, Morocco 3 Mar 1954). Édouard Lock immigrated to Canada as a young child, settling in Montréal with his parents. He studied film at Concordia University and became interested in dance at LE GROUPE NOUVELLE AIRE, where he studied briefly before beginning to choreograph. His first work as a choreographer, Temps Volé (1975), attracted popular and critical attention. In 1980 he founded Lock-Danseurs, which evolved into La La La Human Steps. His first work for this company, Lily Marlene in the Jungle (1980), was followed by Oranges (1981), which won him the Jean A. Chalmers Award for choreography, and Businessman in the Process of Becoming an Angel (1983), a musical, for which his principal dancer and muse, Louise LECAVALIER, won a Bessie Award in New York.

With Human Sex (1985), Lock's harsh, urban, performance-art-oriented style emphasizing maximum risk, high energy and gestural detail began to jell. Human Sex won a Bessie Award for choreography in 1986. New Demons (1987) pushed contradictions in impulse, propulsion and danger further and toured the world for 2 years in ever-changing guises. Then Lock began to expand his activities, collaborating with other artists such as actress Bette Midler in a Home Box Office production.

His company appeared with Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet in an integrated performance at Rendez-vous 87, the Canada-USSR hockey series. In 1988 he used pointe shoes and classically trained dancers for the first time, creating Bread Dances for the National Ballet of Holland. The same year he began working with British rock star David Bowie, choreographing Look Back in Anger for Bowie and Lecavalier for a benefit concert in London and televised in Wrap Around the World. In 1989 he conceived and directed Bowie's Sound and Vision world tour. He also joined The Yellow Shark, a concert by Frank Zappa and the Ensemble Modern of Germany in 1992. With other international artists, Lock participated in a round table on culture and creation held in Caen, France, in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy during WORLD WAR II.

Infante, C'est Destroy (1991) enjoyed international success, playing to more than 120 000 people, 21 000 in Montréal alone. In 1995 Lock created a softer, more interior work, 2, marking a shift in attitude and a deepening maturity. It dealt with the paradoxes of life and death, strong and weak, young and old, etc, and while typical anarchistic Lockean energy reigned on the stage, images of dancer Louise Lecavalier (as she was in 1995 and might be 30 years later), moving with unhurried calm, were projected above on 2 giant video screens.

Lock directs his own videos, creates gravity-defying dances and often uses onstage musicians, vocalizations and high-tech sound devices. Although he has relied on classical technique since choreographing Bread Dances (1988) and Étude (1996) for LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS de Montréal, he also demands athleticism from his dancers. Salt, which La La La opened in Montréal in 1999 as Exaucé, featured 7 ballet dancers among its 6 female and 4 male dancers. By 2001, almost all La La La dancers were classically trained. In addition, they do sports training to build the strength and stamina required by the choreography.

Lock's film credits include Le Petit Museé de Vélasquez (1993), which was shown at several international film festivals and won 4 1994 Gémeaux awards. The same year it also won the Québec-Alberta prize at Banff's International Festival of Television.

For many years, every Lock project has received important awards. His stage productions generally feature film or video as well as his trademark virtuoso slicing movements by leg-whipping female dancers on pointe and heart-stopping, high-speed partnering based on tight, nature-defying twists. Each new award-winning piece tours the world for 2 or 3 years and inspires an equally acclaimed film. Amelia (2002) won the Grand Prix 2003 from the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the following year the film of the same name won its category in numerous international festivals, including the Chicago Film Festival, la Rose d'Or Television Festival in Switzerland and the Czech Republic's Prague International Festival. It also won the Jury Award at the International Banff Television Festival in all categories. The film Amelia received 2 GEMINI AWARDS for best direction and best editing, 2 ICE (individual creative excellence) awards from the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States for best direction of photography and editing, and was a finalist at the International Emmy Awards.

Amjad (2007) toured Canada, Europe, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore through 2009. To Tchaikovsky's reworked music for Swan Lake, it deconstructs romantic elements of the classic. Called the most gripping of all Lock ballets, the resolutely original and edgy Amjad displays a new dimension of the choreographer's creativity with classical ballet-like corps supporting--instead of competing with--the main action. Like Amelia, Amjad will endure on film.

Two of Lock's special projects include the choreography for Jean-Philippe Rameau's 1764 opera, Les Boréades, for the Paris Opera in 2003, and AndréAuria, which he created for the Paris Opera Ballet in 2002 and which won the Benois de la Danse prize in Moscow the following year.

In 2001 Lock received 5 major honours: his second Jean A. Chalmers award for choreography; the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE prize as part of the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S PERFORMING ARTS AWARDS; Quebec's Prix Denise Pelletier; the NATIONAL ORDER OF QUEBEC for contributions to the province's cultural scene, and the ORDER OF CANADA, recognizing "a lifetime of achievement and merit." In 2010 Edouard Lock was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize, valued at $50 000, for his contribution to the culture of Canada over a meaningful length of time and his continuing accomplishments.